It was graduation day in Southport Friday at 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School, and seven students earned their wings. Each graduation sees one of its grads receive the Portage la Prairie Award for the student displaying the highest degree of professionalism and officer-like qualities in their class. Lieutenant Paul Frankland was this class' recipient.

Portage Mayor Irvine Ferris presents Frankland with Portage la Prairie Award"It feels awesome. I wasn't expecting it at all, so it was a big surprise, and I feel super grateful. I'll be studying for the next three years -- twenty years. We're always studying. I'm on my way to Gander, Newfoundland. I'm learning how to fly the CH-149 Cormorant helicopter. It's going to be a whole different helicopter for me to fly, and a lot of studying to do."

Reviewing Officer John Alexander says the students completed their culmination of the long and arduous training, with some having studied over three years. He notes they'll go on to the operational level from here. Alexander adds this graduation only included helicopter pilots this time around, and multi-engine students will graduate at a later date.

Scenes from the graduation: